Time to stop worrying. Video games are not making us more violent.

In Victorian times, people feared the effect of novels on the young. In the 1950s, comic books, then rock ‘n’ roll, were the boogie men. In the 1970s, it was Dungeons & Dragons. Now some people fear video games.

Most video gamers are not children. Their average age is around 30. And as The Economist magazine has pointed, “violent crime in America has fallen as games have become popular.” A study in Britain found that the number of children ages 10-17 booked into the Youth Justice System for the first time had fallen by 86% between 2008 and 2018.

This is even better news than you’d think. Bob predicted a decade ago that video games would outpace movie box-office numbers. That pace keeps accelerating. People now spend $150 billion a year on video games, nearly five times what they are expected to spend this year on seeing movies. Things will get worse, or maybe better, depending on which company’s stock you own.

The highest-grossing movie franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has raked in $18 billion globally since Disney bought the franchise in 2009. Last year’s hottest video game, Red Dead Redemption 2, earned $725 million in its first three days — a weekend haul behind only this year’s film Avengers: Endgame, and Grand Theft Auto V, a game from 2013.

Google has a new streaming video service for games. It’s called Stadia. It doesn’t have a lot of games yet, but includes some of the hottest titles. It costs $129 to join and $10 a month after the first three months. The price includes a controller and a Chromecast digital media player, to put the games on your TV. Microsoft is launching an xCloud service in 2020, similar to Stadia, and Amazon is expected to follow. Time to stock up the refrigerator and sit back in a comfortable chair.

BLUE LIGHT BLUES

Joy ordered new eyeglasses for computer work after she broke her old ones. But she forgot to get the kind that filters blue light. There’s a fix for that.

But first, why care about blue light? That’s the kind we get from the sun. The thing to remember is: We don’t stare into the sun. But we do stare at our screens. According to PreventBlindness.org, blue light from electronics can cause eye strain, irritated eyes and difficulty focusing. At night, it makes you too alert to fall asleep quickly.

In Windows 10, type “Night light” into the search bar. When it comes up, move a slider knob to the left to get a softer, slightly orange glow. The settings have an automatic turn-on and turn-off time, but you can adjust these to get almost continual soft light. We chose 5 p.m. for our turn-on time and 4:45 p.m. the next day for our turn-off time, which gives us only 15 minutes of harsh light. After selecting each time, click the check mark to save it.

On a Mac, type “Night Shift” into the search settings, and go from there. For more information, see the article at DigitalTrends.com called “How to Use a Blue Light Filter on your PC or Mac.” If you want a softer light on your smartphone or tablet, search for an app using the phrase “Night Shift on iOS” or “Night Shift on Android.”

INTERNUTS

“How Well Can You Decode Text Message Slang?” Search on that phrase to find an article on TriviaGenius.com. For example, “ship” is short for “relationship.” When used as a verb, as in, “I totally ship you two,” it means you think they’d make a great couple. “Sus” means “suspicious.” “IKR” means, “I Know, Right?” “JSYK” means “Just So You Know.”

GreenChef.com and HelloFresh.com are two meal kit services Joy likes. In her experience, they make good gifts. But you don’t want to keep paying for them forever. If you order one under your own name, you can cancel it before the second week begins.

GOING ABROAD

We mentioned in a previous column that we wondered why a reader didn’t use her sister’s Google Fi phone abroad, since there are no extra data charges. However, the reader was talking about phone calls, not using Skype, Facetime, or some other app for Wi-Fi calls.

Bob and Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at bobschwab@gmail.com and joy.schwabach@gmail.com.

Business on 12/07/2019



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